Boater May Face Vessel Homicide Charges After Propeller Death

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Just like Florida has vehicular homicide charges, the state also has what they call vessel homicide. In Florida, a vessel is a commercial or non-commercial boat or aircraft. Vessel homicide is causing the death of another person by operating a vessel in a manner that was reckless and likely to result in great bodily harm or death. Typically, vessel homicide is a second-degree homicide charge. However, it can be charged as first-degree homicide if the operator of the vessel fails to render aid or refuses to give information. The law does not require that the operator be aware of the death or injury, only to be aware that an accident took place.

The News-Press reports that a boater could face vessel homicide charges stemming from a Fort Myers Beach incident that killed his wife.

No formal charges have yet been filed, but the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has recommended to the state attorney to file vessel homicide charges.

The incident occurred on March 8. 52-year-old Irene Sabo and 52-year-old Joseph Sabo along with several others were on board “Ridin Dirty,” a 36-foot Yellowfin open motorboat. They were off the shore of Fort Myers Beach when Irene Sabo suffered from fatal injuries.

Irene Sabo and the others were behind the boat when it became wedged onto a sandbar. Joseph Sabo put all three outboard motors in gear and tilled them up to try and dislodge the boat. Irene Sabo apparently fell into the propellers.

An investigation performed by the FWC concluded that there was enough evidence to pursue a second-degree vessel homicide charge against Joseph Sabo.

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